How to Apply for the Patagonia Affiliate Program with a WordPress Site

This can be a little tricky…

When I started chipping away at finding affiliate programs that are a good fit for this blog, one of the first ones I had thought of was Patagonia. If you have been here from the beginning, you’ll know that the site name started off as PatagoniaDad. In fact I still have the http://www.patagoniadad.com url pointing to this site, and most of my social media handles are some version of @patagoniadad.

As a climber, I have long been a Patagonia fan. I used to live where the flagship store is, knew people who worked there and designed clothes for them, love the gear, and really respect what the company stands for. The group of people I used to work out with at my last gym, would joke with me all the time about how many different jackets of theirs I own. All that aside, I’ve bought many things from them and I have been meaning to do reviews on their stuff for a while…affiliate or not.

AvantLink is the company that handles Patagonia’s affiliate program and their verification method seems pretty standard as I learn more about how affiliate stuff works. The quickest verification method is to install some javascript on your site’s home page, click one of their links that will check to see if the script is there, then viola!…you are verified and one step closer to being approved. However, even with a WordPress premium plan, you can’t install plug-ins that would allow javascript (that requires a business plan)…so you have to do a little work around that Avant Link walks you through.

They have a specific call out for WordPress users like you and I:

WordPress: WordPress is the most popular ‘do it yourself’ website editor.

In order to get the JavaScript verification script integrated, you have to write a blog entry, select “Text” instead of “Visual” editing, and then use the “<code>“ and “</code>“ tags to surround the script. That way it will not be visible, but the confirmation script (which searches for the embedded script) would then be able to find it. 

AvantLink Support Site

Below is what that looks like.

http://classic.avantlink.com/affiliate_app_confirm.php?mode=js&authResponse=d5858baa6e85ab9b1f12842c85ff11864b70ef9d

You probably don’t see anything…maybe a small “play” icon. [Correction, it looks like a link…that doesn’t really work] When you are pasting in the javascript to your site, you will have to click the page editor menu (top right of your WP blog post editing page) and switch from Visual Editor to Code Editor. Paste in the javascript they provide, put <code> in front of it and </code> at the end, then switch back to Visual Editor.

Boom! The verification javascript is there. You do have to post it to your home page…so if that is a blog post like this, then you will have to post it. And from what I understand, it can’t be behind a “read more” link, it has to be visible ON the home page. Now click on the verification link and wait. They say that once it is verified that you can delete the script…but I’ll probably leave mine here since I used it for a blog post.

I will update this post once I get some sort of response on what happens and if it works.

If you are curious about some of the good affiliate program sites I’ve found feel free to drop a comment. AvantLink seems like one that has good core values and is looking for quality over quantity. Just my style.

I Can’t Help Myself…I’ve Done it Again

Ever in the pursuit of the perfect website design…

One of my biggest weaknesses (yet also a strength) is the fact that I like to fiddle with the design of my site. I feel like I have a very specific vision of what I want my site to look like.

The trick is that I have to balance that with how to best design it in such a way that I can work on serving information on community memberships, showing tasteful ads, display affiliate partnerships, etc. I’m trying to make a little money here and I want to show you how I do that along the way.

While my Hermes wordpress theme was very fast, it didn’t seem to allow me the ability to add a simple righthand column to display a little extra info. I experimented just a bit but decided for now to switch to the Twenty Sixteen wordpress theme. I love the classic and clean blog look of this theme, and it shows the full posts on the main page…which is nice because people who land here can spend more time on the page vice having to click around. (Although…do I want people to click around?) The only downside is that when I tested it over at Pingdom.com it failed the “speed test” miserably. Ugh. So I’ll be working on that.

All that to say, if you visit my site over the next few days you may seem some changes. Don’t worry, content will always be king and my content isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully I will just make it easier to peruse it all.

Drop a comment if you prefer the old design, like this one better, or just don’t give a damn.

Oh, and Happy Leap Day!!

My Reaction to a Cody Wanner SHOUT OUT!

Getting a shout out from another creator is always fun…

Again, this video was up before I deleted my last channel and a shout out from a (now) bigger creator drove some folks to my channel. It was just kinda cool to get a shout out back then. I think Cody’s channel exploded just after this.

Patreon for Bloggers

I’ve only ever heard of this for YouTubers…

One of the things that I have been very honest about when I started up this website was that I was going to try and make some money with it.

The tricky part is making money without being obnoxious, bringing down the quality of my site, or generally putting out garbage. I refuse. I don’t know about you, but I cannot stand websites that are riddled with ads and hurt your eyes with all of the click bait and pop-ups.

My initial goal is to be able to get enough income streams from various sources (affiliates, Medium.com partner plan, tee spring, etc) to be able to remove ads from here and break even on the cost of keeping the site going. The google Adsense advertisements that come with wordpress plans are ugly in my opinion…but I’m still trying to see if they have any benefit. If they don’t…perhaps I’ll get rid of them anyways. Luckily…quality content is always king.

When I was going hard on YouTube in 2018 and pumping out vlogs, I saw a lot of YouTube creators talking about their Patreon pages. I finally got curious enough to check them out but never signed up for one. It never really clicked for me until I came across Dusty Porter and his YouTube Creators Podcast. He is always talking about his Patreon page and calling out his patrons, encouraging folks to join his Discord channel to chat with likeminded folks.

After gaining a bit of inspiration from this creator…I have launched my own Patreon page.

But Scott…you post everything here for free…why a Patreon page? First, I do plan to offer early access to my longer form write ups. I haven’t mentioned it often, but I’ve posted some of my longer articles over on Medium and made a few bucks along the way. One thing they give writers that write for their partner program is a family and friends link for each article writen and published behind their paywall. This gets anyone with the link behind that paywall.

Medium has a ton of great content and I pay for the annual membership. I’d check it out if I were you. Hopefully $1/month is worth early/free access to articles I spend more time writing up. They’ll still get posted here, just a week or two after they go up on Medium.

Patreon Benefits

  • Get free access to my Medium.com longer form articles with a  Friends and Family link posted for Patrons only
  • Get a shout out on my next YouTube video
  • Access to chat with the community in our Discord channel

Not a bad start in my opinion. Honestly, I’m going to try it out and see where it goes. Let me know what you think about a Patreon channel and writing. I’m not sure how it will work out…but stick around and I’ll tell you.

Scott from California Patreon Page

The Battles Within

Exploring your call of the wild…

Travel writer Tynan wrote a great article a while back that feels like he plucked it right out of my brain. As someone who still has a passion to climb as much as I can, yet can’t, there is always a push and pull balancing act that I bet almost everyone deals with in life. Tynan gives a good analogy.

A wild horse is a beautiful thing on its own, but isn’t very useful to a person. To create a symbiotic relationship with the horse, the owner must break the horse, training it to give up some of its wild instincts and replace them with conditioned responses.

I rode a horse a few weeks ago in Chile. She was generally well behaved, but had her quirks. Sometimes, riding along in the desert, there would be a tasty looking shrub. If we were walking slowly enough, she would stop and eat it. I’d have to yank on the reins to prevent her from doing it, but that didn’t stop her from trying again next time.

It feels like my brain is the same way. I train it over and over again, but it’s never completely broken. There are battles that I fight every single day, knowing that winning doesn’t mean eliminating those battles entirely, but just winning them more often than not.

I too never feel like I truly win that ever present war with my brain, but maybe I do win most of the battles day by day. In past years my wife has understood that “call of the wild” for me and would graciously take the kiddos for a week or so and say “Just go climb”. I’ve been able to take trips to climb Half Dome, El Cap, Leaning Tower, and other lesser known climbs.

While it has been a while since I’ve been able to climb, that call is still there. Today I encourage you to explore your own Battles Within.

Links of the Week (2/24/2020)

Awesome apps, subscription pricing, and why site stats matter…

Last year when Apple Music Replay was introduced, Apple specified that the feature wouldn’t just serve as a year-end collection of your most-played music, but it would also become a weekly-updated playlist that you can enjoy throughout the year. Up until this weekend, however, the 2020 version of that playlist hadn’t yet been made available. Our Federico Viticci first discovered its debut on Sunday:

This article has a link to where you can find your own 2020 playlist. I love mine.

Apple Music Replay 2020 Playlist Now Available


Today I’m thrilled to announce the release of Dropzone 4.

Dropzone 4 is a big release not just in terms of the app itself but also the business behind it and how I plan to run Aptonic moving forward.

Great app just got powerful but also switched to subscription pricing. I don’t use a lot of the advanced features Dropzone 4 offers, but if you read my Setapp article from last week, you can try Dropzone 4 for free here.

Dropzone 4 Released « Aptonic – Blog


People ask me all the time if forever transaction business models are ethical. And I think the reason they ask me is because they’re dealing with subscription fatigue right now. A lot of people are really frustrated with subscription business models for a few reasons. The first reason is what I call product market fit. In other words a lot of companies build subscription models that aren’t very good business models requiring you to subscribe in order to access something that you only need one time, for example. Or bundling in a lot of stuff that you don’t want and then requiring you to pay for it. So a lot of people feel like hey, I used to love this product and now I have to subscribe to it and I have to pay more and I’m not getting what I really need. That’s the first problem and that creates a lack of trust between the individual and companies. The second thing is what I call subscription overwhelm which leads to subscription guilt which is they say something like this. I love this business model. I love this subscription. It’s really great except I never use it.

Speaking of subscription pricing, this article digs in to just that concept.

Is the ‘forever transaction’ business model ethical?


These sorts of stats do matter to me, because I want to see when and where people stop reading and understand how to keep people engaged with me. Not because I want to manipulate them and monetise them like the standard technology obsession. There is no attention economy here. I do want to build up a conversation with them and encourage replies to my posts.

​I’m slowly exploring SEO more and this blogger has the right mindset when it comes to why SEO and site stats can help make a blog/website better. Conversation. I love it when people comment and I get to converse with them on something we both find interesting.

When Site Stats Do Matter

What does Cody Wanner mean with FIND YOUR YOUTUBE VOICE???

Everyone has their own style, voice, story, etc…have you thought about yours?

Before I deleted my previous YouTube channel, I had started making these videos and stumbled across Cody Wanner. He started a daily Vlog and was able to keep it up for a year…crazy right!!

I really enjoyed his channel and watching him find his way to his core message (one of “encouraging the doers” as he says) and the #nosmallcreator movement was quite unique. I made this video as a “thought piece” of sorts, and it had actually caught his attention and he shouted it out at one point, but the core message of what I am saying here is still the same.

If you start a vlog, blog, writing on Medium…you have to find your own voice and not try and imitate (too much) others that inspire you on any sort of medium. That can be tricky, but there is an audience for all sorts of folks. I realized that while Cody Wanner has a much faster paced, non-linear style…my “voice” or style of vlog was very different. Not bad, just different.

After you watch this…I’d encourage you to check out some of Cody Wanner’s early stuff…it’s lots of fun.

I Want to Go To…Switzerland (info and travel checklist)

[UPDATED 15 March 2020]
First travel post is a place I’ve wanted to go since I was 12…

I have a decent list of places that I’d like to travel and, with my work, I have had the opportunity to travel a fair amount, but not nearly as much as I’d like to.

Along those lines, I am going to start writing about some of these places and what places there are to see, things to do, recommendations on places to stay…a checklist of sorts.

I plan on keeping these info checklists updated as I come across new and useful bits of info…for both myself and for you if you want to bookmark these posts. (I will also create a new navigation category where they can all be found together)

Hope you enjoy!


Switzerland

I’ve wanted to travel here since I was 12. This was probably my first ever “place I want to travel to” type place. Not sure how that came to be, but it did.

1. Google it

The natural first step right? Yup, mine too. Here’s what you get

Not a bad place to start!
Not a bad place to start!

Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high peaks of the Alps. Its cities contain medieval quarters, with landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge. The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Banking and finance are key industries, and Swiss watches and chocolate are world renowned.

2. Write down what YOU want to do

This is where the fun stuff comes in. I’m more interested in the outdoorsy attractions (Swiss Alps anyone?) so I’ll list a few of those here.

Grindelwald: Village in Switzerland

Grindelwald, a village in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps, is a popular gateway for the Jungfrau Region, with skiing in winter and hiking in summer. It’s also a base for mountain-climbing ascents up the iconic north face of Eiger Mountain. Gletscherschlucht, a glacial gorge just outside Grindelwald, features paths with interpretive signage, waterfalls and striated limestone walls.

Getting to see and hike around the Eiger would be a huge check in the box for me.

Lauterbrunnen: Village in Switzerland

Lauterbrunnen is a municipality in the Swiss Alps. It encompasses the village of Lauterbrunnen, set in a valley featuring rocky cliffs and the roaring, 300m-­high Staubbach Falls. Nearby, the glacial waters of Trümmelbach Falls gush through mountain crevices past viewing platforms. A cable car runs from Stechelberg village to Schilthorn mountain, for views over the Bernese Alps.

Ever since I first saw a picture of that valley…I knew that one day I’d see it for myself. It reminds me of Yosemite Valley but with an actual village in it. (Yosemite Village sort of counts…but only park employees live there)

Honestly, there’s so much content out there that covers hiking that can be done in Switzerland. So I’m going to put a link list below for you…and for future me.

Note on the above links: Many of them go to sites that may offer services…but I see them as pages that give me the ideas so I can set my hiking trips up for free.

The famous Glacier Express is free for Swiss Travel Pass holders. You only need to purchase a seat reservation.
The famous Glacier Express is free for Swiss Travel Pass holders. You only need to purchase a seat reservation.

3. Build Your Checklist

I don’t have to abide by checklists, but I’ve found I forget a lot less if I use them. Especially when it comes to remembering random interesting tidbits I want to look up later.

Travel

  • When will you go?
    • As much as I love the summer months, I hate crowds almost as much. My anniversary is in February and when we honeymooned over in Europe right after, we had almost no crowds anywhere because it was the off season. It was glorious and much less stress.
  • How long?
    • I’m going to assume 2 weeks for fun
    • Flights from Buffalo (close to me) are about $700 to Zurich…not bad
      • If you fly out of a big hub like NYC, you can get tickets for about $400-$500
  • Mode of Transport
    • Rental Car or Public Transport: This is a toss up depending on what you want to do. I’ve done both and most often prefer public transport. I don’t mind driving European cars on the other side of the road, but the peace of mind in just hoping on a train can’t be beat.
    • Swiss Travel Pass: This seems to be the way to go.
      • Here’s a quick bit on that from MySwissAlps.com
      • The Swiss Travel Pass is a perfect fit if:

        • you have planned a lot of traveling. You’ll save money as point to point tickets are more expensive;
        • you prefer ticketless traveling. You don’t need to buy tickets for each trip;
        • your plans are not set in stone or you want to be flexible. The Swiss Travel Pass allows spontaneous trips at no extra cost;
        • you stay 15 days or less.

Where to Go?

I already mentioned a few of the places I’d like to go…and your own list will most likely differ from mine. Here’s mine anyways:

  • Hike around the Swiss Alps (ie. the Eiger, the Matterhorn, Jungfrau, etc)
  • Ride to the Highest Railway Station in Europe
  • Grindelwald village
  • Visit/tour Bern (the capital)
  • Visit Zurich (I remember doing a paper on the International Criminal Court so if I could visit that, that would be cool)
  • Do a hut to hut hiking tour
  • (place holder for more…ha!)

This post will be updated as I come across other ideas, good websites, or places to go. I hope that this has helped and if you’ve made it this far…enjoy this gorgeous video of the classic Glacier Express.


Reader Input

15 March 2020

Not long after I posted this, I got a message over on Tumblr with some good info:

Hey there, just saw your post you wanna come to Switzerland? Here is a link to the Swiss online hiking maps(free)

I marked out a nice hut to sleep in near Grindelwald. I have to say normally February is still too snowy to plan for big hikes in the mountains. Depending on the area you should think of bringing skis! Grindelwald is a beautiful place but it’s not like you don’t meet any people there. If you want real outdoor with not seeing people Graubünden or Valais is the better choice to be in the mountains.

There is definitely no issue about driving on the wrong side of the road…it’s not England. 😉 You are right Switzerland is incredible with public transport you can get almost anywhere and you have the scenic advantage of being able to take in the sights! Also they always run on time. :p

I hope you will enjoy your trip to Switzerland when it happens, and let me know if you decide to visit Magic Woods 😉    [Note: this is a climbing spot]

Best time for hiking long hikes high up is in autumn. Then you have most options open. if you have any questions, just ask away.

Somewheresomewhen (Tumblr blog)

Thank you!!